One was a refugee who came to this country without a penny to her name. The other a privately-educated former girlfriend of Prince Andrew.
Two women from very different backgrounds — but this week Diana Jenkins and Amanda Staveley found themselves at the heart of a legal showdown that is causing shockwaves across the City and beyond.
That their paths crossed is thanks to a multi-billion-pound deal that at the height of the 2008 financial crisis saved Barclays from collapse.
Working to broker that deal was bank executive Roger ‘Big Dog’ Jenkins, a man once paid £65 million for two years’ work, and the Mayfair financier Miss Staveley.
But what this week emerged in the High Court are the extraordinarily poisonous goings-on behind the scenes — fuelled, in part, by jealousy over who had been responsible for securing the cash, Mr Jenkins’s wife or Miss Staveley.
Diana Jenkins (right) and Amanda Staveley (left) are at the heart of a legal showdown that is causing shockwaves across the City and beyond
Emails have revealed that the banker was furious that 47-year-old Mrs Jenkins, a glamorous former model turned philanthropist, had not been given the credit she deserved for bringing in the Middle Eastern investors behind the billion-pound bailout.
He claimed that while she was treated like a ‘party girl’, Miss Staveley, also 47, was lauded for her business acumen.
In an email to a fellow executive, Mr Jenkins said his wife had ‘left me’ as she was ‘disgusted with the way I and the bank have dealt with her’.
He added: ‘My family has fallen apart … she has worked to build my brand with all these heavy hitters and … when it counted, nothing! Party girl … She now looks like Paris Hilton. She has two university degrees! Then Amanda gets all the limelight. It has devastated me today.’
The email, dated November 2, 2008, was sent just weeks after 64-year-old Mr Jenkins referred to Miss Staveley as ‘the tart’ in a phone call to a colleague, according to court documents. Another Barclays boss is said to have called her a ‘foxy blonde’.
Details of the personal feud emerged as Miss Staveley accused Mr Jenkins of lying as part of a £1.6 billion deceit case in London’s High Court. She has claimed Barclays unfairly pushed her firm PCP Capital out of the lucrative deal by offering secret fees to other investors.
Model Elle Macpherson went on holiday to Ibiza with bank executive Roger ‘Big Dog’ Jenkins, a man once paid £65 million for two years’ work, and her sons Aurelius and Arpad
Barclays disputes her claim, calling it ‘opportunistic and speculative’.
During the past nine weeks, the opening salvos in the trial have already served to lift the lid on the unseen dramas and jealousies involved in brokering such a deal.
Mr Jenkins, who has been acquitted in the criminal courts of wrongdoing related to the fundraising, believed his wife should get credit for saving the bank because she helped win a £4 billion investment from Qatar.
Mr Jenkins was friends with the Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad, thanks to an introduction from his wife, according to court documents.
Meanwhile, Miss Staveley had close connections with a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, which also invested billions.
But Mr Jenkins, who would go on to date Elle Macpherson after his marriage ended, was furious his then-wife’s role was not recognised.
In one error-strewn email, Mr Jenkins wrote: ‘Diana teed up Hamad thru his wife that’s how it began. His wife wanted to be [in] Diana’s circle . . . she [Diana] has worked to build my brand with all these heavy hitters and got what when it counted, nothing!’
The court case centres on Miss Staveley’s claims she had been fundamental to the deal. She said: ‘My approach to Barclays was not set up by Mr Jenkins’s wife or by Sheikh Hamad.’
Here The Daily Mail reveals the stories of the two formidable women at the centre of what would turn out to be one of the most controversial deals in banking history.
The Refugee and the Private Schoolgirl
Born Sanela Dijana Catic into a Bosnian Muslim family, Diana Jenkins grew up in a small flat in Sarajevo, the daughter of a retired economist. When war broke out in 1992 she fled, walking from Sarajevo to Croatia. Quite how she arrived in Britain the following year remains something of a mystery but when she did she came with hardly a penny to her name — so poor there were days when she reportedly ate nothing but a small bar of Toblerone.
Sir Elton John and Diana Jenkins are seen together at The Hoping foundation summer party in 2014
‘I barely spoke the language,’ she has said. ‘I was walking the streets of London looking for something to eat, or any job.’ She worked as a cleaner, waitress and babysitter, saving up her money to study business computing systems at City University, leaving with a 2.1 degree in 2000. As well as a new life, she gave herself a new name — Diana. She was, she admits, fiercely ambitious, admitting she was inspired as a child by the Dynasty television series and wanted to live life to ‘the max’.
Staveley’s background by contrast could hardly have been more privileged — or more English. Her father Robert is a wealthy landowner while mum Lynne is a former champion horsewoman.
The family’s wealth dates back to the 16th century when Henry VIII’s one-time favourite, Cardinal Wolsey, granted them a plot of land at North Stainley in North Yorkshire. When she was a girl, her parents told her that tradition dictated her brother would inherit the family’s considerable wealth, while her role should be to marry into money. Instead, she chose to make it for herself.
After boarding school, Amanda secured a place at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, to read modern languages.
But when her grandfather died she abandoned her course and decided to pursue her passion for business. When she was 23, she obtained a £180,000 loan to open a restaurant called Stocks in the village of Bottisham, near Newmarket. Working there as chef and waitress, any shortfall in takings was topped up by her occasional work as a model.
At the same time she was studying for City exams to become a financial adviser. Through the restaurant she got to know Newmarket’s flat racing fraternity — in particular Gulf royalty who invested in English bloodstock.
Soon after, she launched her next money-making venture, Q.ton, a health club, gym, restaurant and conference centre, in Cambridge Science Park. In 2000, aged just 27, she was named Businesswoman of the Year.
Chance Encounters and an ‘alpha female’
In 1999, Diana met her husband-to-be in a gym in the Barbican. He was 16 years her senior and separated from his first wife. They married soon after and have a son and daughter together. She would later say: ‘It was perhaps more instant attraction for him than me. What people don’t understand is that Roger really was nobody when we met. He was not this very wealthy man.’
With the support of his new wife he soon would be. Within a matter of years he would be the highest paid man at the bank, running the legal but controversial tax avoidance division at Barclays Capital. He then went to head the investment banking division in the Middle East. In the three years from 2004 he is said to have earned £120 million.
The combination of his business acumen and her drive and social prowess were a powerful mix. ‘We are very different people,’ Mr Jenkins has said.
‘She’s definitely an alpha female. She helped me, nurtured me and encouraged me. There is no way I would have achieved what I did in the City without her. Without her, I would be nothing.
‘Men don’t normally give credit to their wives. I do. She didn’t make me. But she complemented me. She introduced me to a certain social lifestyle.’ Indeed she did. And it was she who befriended the wife of Sheikh Hamad, introducing the couple to her husband while they were on holiday in Sardinia in 2007, thus apparently paving the way for the 2008 deal.
Amanda Staveley is seen posing with footballer David Beckham
Like Jenkins, Staveley’s profile would also be boosted by a chance encounter.
In 2001 Prince Andrew, as UK trade ambassador, visited the Cambridge Science Park with King Abdullah of Jordan on a fact-finding mission.
Staveley was in the VIP meet-and-greet line-up and her good looks did not go unnoticed by the Prince who invited her out to dinner the next day. Romance blossomed and she soon became a regular guest at Buckingham Palace, where she was introduced to senior Royals including the Duke of Edinburgh.
It has been reported that Prince Andrew, or ‘babe’, as she called him, secretly proposed to her in 2003 but, so the story goes, she turned him down because she felt she would not be able to handle the media attention which would have come with being the second Duchess of York. The decision sorely disappointed her parents. She would later reveal that it took her mother three years to get over it.
Throughout her royal dalliance Staveley had maintained her links to the Middle East and by 2005 was running Dubai-based private equity company PCP Capital Partners, securing international deals for clients in Qatar and the UAE. In 2008 she brokered the £210 million sale of Manchester City Football Club to Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour. At the same time she was eyeing up opportunities to invest in a British bank.
Celebrity Friends And Living High Life
Jenkins’S little black book didn’t just contain the numbers of Middle Eastern royalty.
Friends include George Clooney, Pamela Anderson, Elton John and Cindy Crawford. It has also been suggested that footballer Rio Ferdinand, film director Guy Ritchie and singer Justin Timberlake were more than just ‘friends’ — claims she has in the past roundly denied.a spokesman for Simmons & Simmons on Friday.
She and her husband have also been major philanthropists. The guest list for a soiree to raise £10 million for Darfur refugees included Matt Damon, Sir Michael Caine, Bono and Scarlett Johansson.
She also published a book, Room 23, in which she persuaded dozens of celebrities to pose in faintly saucy poses to raise money for one of her charitable foundations. It featured Sharon Stone trussed up in what looks like bondage gear and Minnie Driver eating hamburgers on the loo.
Homes included a Mayfair mansion and a clifftop estate overlooking Malibu beach.
Staveley, meanwhile, counts retail tycoon Sir Philip Green and Simon Cowell among her friends. With a £10 million Regency townhouse in Park Lane, London, and a home in Dubai, hers is a life of chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce Phantoms whisking her to top Mayfair restaurants, of private jets and super-yachts.
Despite once saying, ‘Whoever marries me would have to be a hell of a hero to put up with me and my life,’ she eventually found love, tying the knot with Iranian Mehrdad Ghodoussi, whom she had worked with at her company, in 2011.
Ghodoussi, two years her senior, proposed to her on Valentine’s Day at sunset on the dunes overlooking the Arabian Sea where they live in Dubai, presenting her with a giant ring of three baguette diamonds.
Their lavish wedding was held at West Wycombe Park in Buckinghamshire, where guests included Tracey Emin, Katie Derham and Andrew Neil. Amanda’s dress was by Sarah Burton, who designed Kate Middleton’s wedding dress.
They had son Alexander in 2014. He was born prematurely after Amanda went into labour in a business meeting.
Where are they now?
In 2009 Jenkins and her husband separated, although the split was not made public for several years. Soon after she announced that she was leaving the UK to live full-time on the West Coast of the U.S. having become fed up with the ‘snobbery’ of London’s rich wives who, she said, viewed her as an ‘Eastern European mail-order bride’.
One day, at a charity gala, she recalled: ‘I looked around the room and thought: “What am I doing here with these people? I would rather be at home eating pizza in my pyjamas.” I felt really unfulfilled, empty, almost dirty.’
The couple divorced in 2012, with her reportedly receiving a £150 million pay out. The settlement saw the former Bosnian refugee joining her ex-husband among Britain’s wealthiest 500 individuals.
‘Will she take half my money? Of course,’ Mr Jenkins said at the time. ‘Without her, I would not have anything like the success I’ve had.’
Jenkins is behind a range of health drinks designed to promote fitness and wellbeing. They include NeuroBliss, NeuroSonic and NeuroGasm — the latter is apparently designed to leave you feeling ‘playful, passionate and satisfied’.
She also funded the Sanela Diana Jenkins Human Rights Project at the University of California to advance the cause of human rights and international justice around the world. Home is a £100 million Malibu mansion overlooking the ocean.
As for Staveley, she and PCP are currently spearheading a Saudi-backed £300 million takeover bid for Newcastle United Football Club from owner Mike Ashley.
She is said by sources close to her to have £28 billion under management including wealthy investors in the Middle East, Far East and the U.S., and countries’ sovereign wealth funds.
Now rated as one of the Middle East’s most powerful businesswomen, her worth is put at more than £100 million.
Of course, should her civil suit against Barclays prove successful, that’s a figure that could increase substantially.